Tvboy, pseudonym of Salvatore Benintende, is a street artist exponent of the Italian NeoPop movement. He is known for the character he created, "TVboy", an alter ego that he frequently depicts as a symbol of distinction from the massified culture of the new generations, mainly because of television.
Salvatore Benintende was born in Palermo on July 16, 1980, but his family moved to Milan where Tvboy grew up and completed his studies. His debut on the urban art scene took place in 1996, when he started to make his first traditional graffiti and the first experiments under the pseudonym "Crasto".
In 1999 he enrolled in the Faculty of Industrial Design at Bovisa Polytechnic of Milan and in 2002 he attended for a year the Faculty of Fine Arts in Bilbao. After the experience in the Bilbao, the Faculty of Design of Milan hosted an exhibition in which the character of "Tvboy" appeared for the first time. On that occasion he used old televisions as a support, painting on the screens the faces of friends and celebrities with the stencil technique. The exhibition was quite successful among the students and the definition of "the tvboy" was associated with the name of Crasto, thus becoming "Crasto the tvboy".
After several interventions with the stencil technique, posting on the walls of Milan the image of the face trapped inside the television, Tvboy abandoned it. So, he began to sketch freehand the image of Tvboy, a child inspired by the style of cartoons with his face inside a television screen: he created a repetitive and quite stylized sign, quickly replicable with marker or spray can, but always different.
Soon the name of "Crasto" disappeared from the signature and the artist’s name, became Tvboy, artist currently known by this pseudonym.
Meanwhile, Tvboy began to affix on the walls colorful large posters, handmade in the studio with acrylic paints and affixed with flour glue. The first stickers began to appear: in black and white, they were designed to be attached to the back of street signs. In the period between 2003 and 2004 Tvboy spread his works in major Italian cities, such as Milan, Florence and Rome, and then international. The friendship and collaboration with other Italian street artists was born and consolidated, including Ivan the street poet, Pao and Bros.
Since 2005 he has lived with his wife and daughter in Barcelona where he opened his art studio.
Tvboy is by now an icon of Pop Art and Street Art, appreciated worldwide, so much that he has been defined "the Italian Banksy".
From the first works, Tvboy's art has always sent strong and provocative messages. His works speak to the general public as much as to the elite of collectors and do not spare public figures and politicians from his satirical representations.
At first, the artist represents faces within television screens. Tvboy gives shape to the enormous influence that television exercised (and still exercises) on the population: it becomes part of the artist's alter ego, a strong message that expresses how television can be an instrument of homologation and standardization especially for the new generations.
With the evolution of the artist's style, Tvboy begins to prefer representations of contemporary public figures.
Among the best-known subjects are the unmistakable "kisses". The one that caused the strongest controversy was the Kiss between Italian politicians Salvini and Di Maio made in 2018 in Rome and removed by the authorities. But in a similar way we find other famous personalities represented by Tvboy: works such as the kiss between Pope Francis and Donald Trump, that between Ronaldo and Messi and that between José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are just a few examples.
Other iconic representations include works with political value such as the Italian politicians Giorgia Meloni holding a black child in her arms or the same subject starring Matteo Salvini. In 2017 he represented Donald Trump and Silvio Berlusconi in the guise of Batman and Robin, while in 2018 a Pope Francis appeared in Pompeii with a heart in his hand, with the colors of the rainbow, a symbol of Lgbtq+ rights, and with the words "Love wins stop homophobia!".
Among the portraits "less politically engaged" we find the homages to Maradona, represented in the guise of St. Francis or Pino Daniele (Italian musicians) and Totò(Italian actor), the latter in the guise of a graffiti writer.
The style of Salvatore Benintende (TvBoy) is significantly influenced by the American Pop Art movement, in particular by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring.
Another fundamental influence, especially from an aesthetic point of view, is that of comics, both American comics and Japanese manga. For example, there are clear affinities with Charles Schulz's Peanuts and Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes, but also with the Japanese Kawaii and the Otaku subculture, especially with the style developed by the artist Takashi Murakami.
Of course, the evolution of TvBoy has been marked by collaborations with some of the first Italian street artists, such as Pao and Bros, and Spanish ones, such as El Pez and Lolo, and by the work of other international artists, such as the Dutch The London Police.
In 2020 one of the themes most used by the artist to tell the contemporary world was obviously the Covid: Tvboy was able to communicate to the world one of the most delicate periods of recent years.
From the first urban interventions to exhibitions in important galleries and museums, Tvboy is one of the most famous and loved Italian street artists and boasts the participation to personal and collective exhibitions of great interest all over the world.
In the winter of 2004 he visited Barcelona for the first time and, fascinated by the lively artistic scene, he decided to move permanently to Barcelona: the first times were very intense, marked by numerous interventions of urban art, but also by some exhibitions in private galleries and institutional places such as the Iguapop Gallery, the CCCB and the Museum of History of Zaragoza.
In 2007, the year of the opening of his studio in Barcelona, he was invited to exhibit his works in Italy in two significant exhibitions dedicated to street art. The first is Street Art Sweet Art, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi and Alessandro Riva at PAC - Padiglione Arte Contemporanea in Milan. The other exhibition is Street Up, hosted by Byblos Art Gallery in Verona.
In 2008 the brand Tvboy is registered nationally and internationally, starting at the same time a series of collaborations with commercial brands for the development of clothing and accessories, but also in the field of cars, home appliances, school and publishing, such as Fiat, Nescafè, la Rinascente, Seven, Cosimo Panini.
In 2008 he had his first solo exhibition at the WE LOVE Asbaek Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark and in the same year he was invited to the street art festival Más in Havana, Cuba, then to Beirut in Lebanon for the Aishti Art Week project and to Bern in Switzerland at PROGR.
In 2009 Tvboy is the protagonist of a solo exhibition at the CO2 gallery in Rome, titled Pop Remixes and curated by Gianluca Marziani, who is also the curator of the group exhibition Scala Mercalli at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome.
In 2010 the spaces of Superstudio Più in Milan host a solo exhibition of Tvboy, entitled Mash Up and curated by Jacopo Perfetti, with the publication of the catalog by the publishing house Skira. The great success became the pretext to start a collaboration with La Rinascente for the realization of a project for the windows of several stores throughout Italy.
Also in 2010, on the occasion of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Tvboy collaborates with 10elotto, creating an exhibition and a public performance in which he distributes masks of his character in the streets of the city.
From that moment on, Tvboy's artistic activity undergoes a further acceleration on an international level, especially thanks to the numerous interventions of urban art on the streets of major European cities, such as Munich, Berlin, London and Paris, and in the United States, such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In 2012 Tvboy is invited to exhibit at Ignacio de Lasalleta's N2 gallery in Barcelona for the exhibition Lo Ultimo En Pop Art.
In 2014 the exhibition Pop Up Revolution was held at the MDM Museum in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, where Tvboy's name and art were placed side by side with the works of great protagonists of international contemporary art, such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Shepard Fairey (Obey).
The same honor was reserved to Tvboy also in 2015 on the occasion of PopSider, exhibition organized at the OnSider space in Barcelona, where his works appear together with those of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Roy Lichtenstein.
In 2015, Tvboy is invited to create a giant canvas for the centenary of EICMA, the motorcycle fair in Milan, and for the 40th anniversary of the Adriano Ribolzi Gallery in Montecarlo, Monaco.
Between 2019 and 2020, several collaborations have been launched: among them GreenPeace and OpenArms, actively engaged in social work and the protection of human rights.
In 2020 it won the award for the best cover ever made on SportWeek, reprinted inside issue 1000 and for SportWeek, this time in January 2021, Tvboy created an exclusive cover artwork dedicated to the anniversary of the death of Kobe Bryant.
An exhibition at Mudec (Milan) is planned for 2021.